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Pharmacognosy:Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants

Pharmacognosy: Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants (2nd edition), Jean Bruneton. Lavoisier Publishing Inc., 1999, 1119 pp., illustrated hardcover. ISBN: 1898-2986-3-7 $218.

This new edition of Jean Bruneton's standard pharmacognosy text (translated from French by Caroline K. Hatton, Ph.D.) has been revised and expanded with many additions on the biological activity of plants and their constituents and, whenever possible, clinical data. This book has been a long time coming, especially for those who missed the first English edition, which was published in November 1995 and has been out of print for several years.

Primary additions to this book are sections on the antimalarial, antitumor, and antiretroviral agents. Pharmacognosy brings together a considerable amount of botanical, chemical, analytical, pharmacological, and therapeutic data into a particularly coherent compilation. Though focusing on medicinal plants, it extends to discuss plants used as additives for pharmaceutical or food technology, or starting materials for the perfume or cosmetics industry. Phytochemical generalities, distribution, biosynthesis, methods for extraction and quantitation are provided for each class.

The table of contents includes such topics as Compounds of Primary Metabolism (such as carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and peptides, proteins and enzymes); Phenolics, Shikimates, Acetates; Terpenoids and Steroids; and an extensive section on alkaloids. An extensive index includes to nearly 3,000 entries and 500 references (books, reviews, or original research publications) are listed by topic at the ends of chapters.

This phytochemistry and pharmacognosy bible will be of considerable interest to academicians, researchers, and students of pharmacology, pharmacy, medicine, and plant sciences, as well as herbalists, botanists, producers, chemists, and manufacturers. As a pharmacologist, I found the mechanism of action sections of particular interest and feel that they are particularly well done. Illustrations and structural formulae are plentiful and add to the text that makes for very enjoyable reading. This book is a "keeper." -- Jerry Cott, Ph.D.